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A Bar Mitzvah, Two Wolves, and Memorial Day

Occasionally we forward posts that particularly speak to us.  This is one from Charlie Baker, former Gubernatorial candidate here in Massachusetts.  Let us know what you think …

Wolf          I wanted to share some thoughts I had this past weekend regarding Memorial Day:

   A Bar Mitzvah, Two Wolves & Memorial Day

by Charlie Baker

About ten years ago, I saw something at a Bar Mitzvah I’d missed when I was young. I watched two parents – friends of mine – stand beside their son and tell him how much they admired the young man he’d become, and how much they were looking forward to watching him grow into adulthood. I couldn’t believe I’d missed this when I was a kid. Here they were, in front of a room full of friends and family, speaking directly to their son – and to the crowd – about their hopes and dreams for their child, in a deeply spiritual and personal way.

Lauren and I loved it. We loved it so much that when each of our children turned 13, we sat them down at the kitchen table and did the same thing. In front of their siblings, we told them, as best we could, how much we loved watching them grow into the young adults they’d become, and how much we were looking forward to being there to watch and share whatever was going to happen next. We never got through these talks in one take. There was too much emotion – too much gratitude – and too much hope for the future – to get through it without gasping for breath at least once.

This past week-end, we had the chance to watch this wonderful moment play out again, as good friends of ours had the chance to share their hopes and dreams for their son at his Bar Mitzvah.

Mom barely made it through her remarks, and by the time she finished, we were all wiping our eyes. Her husband – the boy’s dad – began his comments with a story about a Samurai Warrior and his young son.

The Samurai told his son that there’s a battle inside us all between two wolves – a good wolf and an evil wolf. The evil wolf is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The good wolf is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. As the boy considered his father’s words, he asked, “Which wolf wins?” The Warrior replied, “The one you feed.”

Dad then went on to talk about his own battles with the two wolves, and told some very funny stories about his son’s tangles with both as well. It was marvelous and moving.

But as I thought about it later on that day, I could not help but think it was Memorial Day week-end. Here we were, sharing one of life’s most glorious moments – a child’s symbolic step from one life stage to another – on a week-end that honors those who do not. Memorial Day, in some ways, is about all those moments missed. A child’s first steps. His first words. Her first day at school. Her first bike ride. His first game of catch. Our first school project. His first test drive. Her first blown test at school. The list is endless – as it should be. This is what raising children is all about – supporting them as they grow up, sharing special moments along the way, and – if all goes according to plan – having the chance to see them become positive, productive grown ups.

I remember each of these moments – and hundreds more – and like any parent, I cherish them all, and look forward to the hundreds more we’ll have in front of us, if life goes according to plan.

But then I think about Memorial Day, and I think of all those parents who lost their sons and daughters on a battlefield, and those parents who lost their lives on a battlefield, and left their spouses, sons and daughters behind. Thank God for their memories – but they all lose the rest of the show. Before they lost their child, did they have a chance to tell her how much they loved her? Did they hit any of the items on their imaginary bucket lists? Did mom or dad say it all to their kids – or did they never get the chance to tell their children the story about the two wolves in all of us?

We’ve all heard that very famous expression – probably from our own parents at some point along the way – that “life’s not fair.” Well it’s hard to imagine anything more unfair than losing a child or a parent before their time. I’ve watched a minister stand behind a pulpit and tell a mother that her son “is a hero.” I’ve seen families and friends come together, pressed tightly up against one another, supporting each other through that very long and difficult final day that ends at the local cemetery. And I’ve seen the crowds come out to say, “Thanks” and “We love you” to their fallen friend and his or her family. But it all seems so small when it stands beside all those lost opportunities to watch a child grow up.

One of my best friends growing up lost his dad when he was very young, and he used to say that he wished his father had been around to see him graduate from high school and college, get married, and have children. He was forced to play the hand he was dealt, and he played it well. But he told me one time that he used to imagine what his dad would say to him as he tackled some of life’s toughest challenges, and saw them through.

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring the fallen, and as citizens who live in a free society, it’s the least we can do. But as I drove home from that Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, what kept flashing through my mind was the photo I saw earlier that day in the Berkshire Eagle of a woman clutching a folded American flag, flanked by her son’s wife and her husband, as they left his memorial service in Dalton, MA. Her son – Mitchell Daehling – was 24 when he was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. His parents will never see what might have been for him, and his wife will only have her memories. These are the people who are left behind – who carry on – knowing that the future they imagined – that they wished and hoped for – is now gone, to be replaced by something else that has not yet been defined.

On this Memorial Day, please try to keep this in mind. When someone gives “the last full measure of devotion” for their country, our nation suffers a great loss, but it is small when compared to the loss that is incurred by that soldier’s family. They must carry on, knowing full well that for the rest of their lives, their mom, their dad, their son, or their daughter will only occupy an empty seat at their table, and will miss out on that glorious chance to share in the here and now of many of life’s most special moments – like when dad tells his son about the two wolves.

God Bless The Fallen & Their Families

Charlie Baker

 

Let us know what you think.  The Weymouth Republican Town Committee exists to promote the principles and safeguard the interests of the Republican Party and its candidates.   We believe the Republican Party is a primary voice for common sense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.   We champion job creation, entrepreneurship, and small business.  We demand individual freedom, defend family values, and work toward limited government and taxation all while protecting fundamental basics such as public safety and public education.  For more information contact us at Weymouth.RTC@gmail.com

Reflections on This Week …

It’s tough to believe that it’s been less than a week since the cowwardly acts at the Boston Marathon. That day revealedBAA Rememberance the worst of humanity and the best. It’s so hard to think that some people think so little of innocent human life that they can plant a bomb intended to maim or kill as many people as possible and then go on with their lives without a care. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to think that there are those other people who, when the animals are turned loose, run toward the trouble, put themselves in harm’s way, and do what they can to alleviate the damage. Praise God for those first responders, doctors and nurses at the Marathon medical tent, and the private citizens who stepped in to help. Their actions prevented this from being an even bigger disaster.

And now the animals who pertetrated this monstrosity have been caught. I don’t particularly care to know anything about them or what motivated them to act in such a violent way. Leave that to the authorities that they can learn more about how to prevent future acts. Let them only be known as ‘ Suspect # 1’ and ‘Suspect #2’ or ‘Black Hat’ and ‘White Hat’. Who they are matters not. The ones who should be remembered are those who’s lives were snuffed out or affected. Let us honor Krystle Campbell, 29, a restaurant manager from Medford, MA; Lu Lingzi, 23, a BU graduate student from China; Martin Richard, 8, of Dorchester, who recently photographed holding a sign saying, “No more hurting people. Peace”; MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 23 of Somerville; MBTA Police Officer Richard Donohue and the scores of others who were injured at what should have been a joyous event. Let us remember these people. Their lives and causes are what should be memorialized.

Finally, let us always let those closest to us know that we love them and that they are appreciated. We never know what’s around the corner or when the last time will be that we will have the opportunity to let those we love know how we feel. Let us work to make this world around us a better place to live, work, and play.

God Bless!

Let us know what you think.  The Weymouth Republican Town Committee exists to promote the principles and safeguard the interests of the Republican Party and its candidates.   We believe the Republican Party is a primary voice for common sense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.   We champion job creation, entrepreneurship, and small business.  We demand individual freedom, defend family values, and work toward limited government and taxation all while protecting fundamental basics such as public safety and public education.  For more information contact us at Weymouth.RTC@gmail.com

 

Darkness – The Workplace of the Massachusetts Legislature

Hiding in the DarkOnce again, the Massachusetts Democrat legislature has voted to close ranks and hide rather than open itself up to public hearings. Wasn’t tax without representation the spark that ignited the Revolutionary War? Behold our legislators in action:

HOUSE REJECTS CALL FOR PUBLIC HEARING ON NEW TAX BILL
State House News Service
Colleen Quinn
4/3/13

“House Republicans failed in their attempt to have a public hearing held specifically on the tax package plan that includes a three-cent per gallon gas tax hike and a $1 per-pack hike to the cigarette tax. In addition, new taxes on business would account for about half of the new revenue, including $161 million by applying the state’s sales tax to computer services, something 35 other states do. The proposal also eliminates the state’s ‘utility’ tax classification. ‘Generally when it is something small when you might be able to reason we should move it through a little quicker. But we are talking about a $500 million tax bill; $500 million on our constituents that has only been announced yesterday morning,’ Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson (R-Grafton) said during debate.

“‘But at least the governor’s proposal has been out there, has been heard, so the general public has the ability to weigh in.’” House lawmakers rejected the amendment to hold a public hearing on the plan, 30 to 120, with Transportation Committee Chair Rep. William Straus arguing that sufficient public hearings on the issue were held before the new tax plan was unveiled on Tuesday.”

It’s time to shake things up and make this a two-party state! Vote Republican!

A Meals Tax in Weymouth – NO!

broke-manAttended the Weymouth Town Council meeting last night where they held a public hearing on a proposal from Mayor Kay to institute a .75% meals tax in the town. The tax is expected to generate approximately $500,000 in new revenue to the town, based upon MA DOR’s collections of sales taxes on meals currently.

I spoke out against the tax, based on my philosophical concerns that government, in general, can’t be trusted to stick to what it promises.

Massachusetts’ sales tax began as a 3% temporary sales tax. It’s now 6.25%.

The excise tax on the sale of real estate was $2.28 per $1,000 and was increased to $4.56 per $1,000 due to a fiscal crisis with our county jails and registries of deeds, which is where those funds went. The legislation enacting it guaranteed a sunset. It did indeed sunset and the very next session our legislators acted to reinstate it and make it permanent. And they transferred the care of the jails and registries from the counties to the state. The funds go directly into the state’s general fund.

We pay property taxes in our cities and towns. Ostensibly we pay those taxes to fund our schools, police, fire, road maintenance, and trash pick-up. Over the years, though we’ve found that our kids have to pay additional fees to take a bus (regardless of how far away they are). They have to pay additional fees to take part in extra-curricular activities – something every educator will say is crucial to a well-rounded education. We now have additional fees for our trash pick-up. I can go on and on with how or government – at all levels has failed to live up to its promises.

Those advocating on behalf of the tax say that the amount is small; other towns are doing it; we need the funds for our recreational fields and parks. All this may be true. The question is, to paraphrase a line in a movie …”What in our previous relationship would lead me to believe you?”

Life After Sequester

DesolationWell, we’re at the edge of the fiscal cliff once again.  This time the precipice’s name is ‘Sequester’ and the calamity we’re facing is horrific budget cuts resulting in our way of life going by the wayside.  Children will starve.  The elderly will be thrown out on the streets.   Planes will crash.  Doom is upon us!  Is there any hope?

Where is Superman when we need him?!!  How much of what we’re hearing is really true?  How much is hyperbole?  How much is factual?

While I don’t have the answers to where the cuts will come from, let’s first of all talk about perspective. First of all, the cuts aren’t really ‘cuts’. They’re reductions in the increase of spending. Funny how the government thinks. If they can’t continue to spend more then we’re taking away from them – but I digress. 85 billion dollars sounds like a lot and it is, but when taken in context of what the United States spends on an annual basis (3.8 trillion dollars), it isn’t all that much – about 2.4%.

Let’s break it down to a family earning $50,000. a 2.4% reduction in spending translates to about $1,200 per year or $23 a week. Certainly not enough to cause calamity. It’s even more ridiculous when one considers our national debt, which is currently around 16.4 trillion dollars! In that case, the 85 billion dollars in ‘cuts’ translates into .06% or (in the example of our family), $30 per year in reduction.

Come on Washington, get real. Start doing the business of leading this country. Mr. President, start figuring out where the money is going to come from if you continue spending. The golden goose is on life support and politicking will not resuscitate it.

The Future Of Conservatism

From time to time we like to have guest column that speaks to the issues of the day . This week there is a wonderful commentary from Karl Rove:

Karl RoveIn the aftermath of electoral defeat, conservatives frequently question their philosophy’s appeal. So it is after this year’s presidential election.

My view is that the future of American conservatism is bright. Its fundamental strengths remain. But refinements and adjustments are needed, as they always are in times of change.

To be clear: This election was not a referendum between two distinct philosophical approaches. President Barack Obama’s handlers believed that if the contest turned into a battle between competing visions for America’s future, his defeat was likely.

So the Chicago Wrecking Crew used their considerable resources to try to disqualify Mitt Romney by assailing his character, business record, and values. They largely, if not completely, succeeded. To many voters, Romney became, in the memorable phrase of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, “a plutocrat with a wife who was an admitted equestrian.”

2012 was a tactical victory for Obama; it was not a strategic defeat for conservatism. For only the sixth time in history, the number of voters dropped from the previous presidential election. And Obama became the first president to win a second term with a smaller percentage of the vote than in his first race.

Still, conservatism faces challenges. There is some irony in the fact that a philosophy based on timeless values, experience, precedent, and practice must periodically update itself, applying its principles to the country’s new condition. Now is such a time.

One reason the political parties that represent conservatism and liberalism (and the latter’s further left cousins) seem so closely matched is that neither has gained a durable advantage in talking about what Americans face in their families and communities. How can people provide for their loved ones? Will they and their neighbors have good jobs? Will their children get a quality education? What kind of a country will their children inherit? Conservative politicians must offer a practical, commonsense, and compelling agenda that speaks to these concerns. Which is why the contributions of scholars, policy experts, think tanks, scribblers in little journals, columnists, writers in magazines and blogs, voices on TV and radio, and leaders of interest groups are more important than in recent decades.

Conservatives must also be alert to tone. Our movement prospers when it is led by individuals who are optimistic, upbeat, and forward-looking. Ronald Reagan drew people to him not because he was pessimistic, angry, whiny, or judgmental. There are vital lessons here both about language and emphasis.

Our values are right and apply to people across America. They can help people in every corner of the country to rise and prosper and lead lives of dignity and worth. We must convince people we mean it, through what we say and through the policies we propose.

Conservatism is also stronger when it recognizes it’s a movement characterized not by one rigid set of beliefs but by a collection of often similar but occasionally different schools of thought. Forbearance and tolerance are therefore necessary, especially in dealing with other conservatives.

Success in politics comes only if we shrug off the despondency that comes after defeat. Losses, like victories, aren’t permanent. Life–and the fight–goes on. Progressives didn’t throw in the towel after 2010.  We shouldn’t now.

 

Let us know what you think.  The Weymouth Republican Town Committee exists to promote the principles and safeguard the interests of the Republican Party and its candidates.   We believe the Republican Party is a primary voice for common sense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.   We champion job creation, entrepreneurship, and small business.  We demand individual freedom, defend family values, and work toward limited government and taxation all while protecting fundamental basics such as public safety and public education.  For more information contact us at Weymouth.RTC@gmail.com

Election 2012: A Massachusetts Perspective

This is the second of a three-part series on the upcoming election. Part one had a national focus, while this one has more of a Massachusetts perspective. The final segment will focus on the ballot questions facing Massachusetts voters.

 
Ask anyone about what the biggest problem is facing Washington, DC today (aside from the economy) and the answer will probably have something to do with gridlock in our legislature.  Republicans don’t want anything to do with the Democrats and the Democrats certainly don’t want to allow anything to happen that might reflect positively on Republicans.  The one exception to that (in the Senate, at least) is Senator Scott Brown.  From his very first bill – ethics reform on Capitol Hill – he’s shown a willingness to work with anyone regardless of party affiliation to make a positive difference for Massachusetts and the United States as a whole.  He sponsored and pushed through a bill to create incentives for business to hire returning veterans – no small accomplishment for a freshman senator.

Professor Elizabeth Warren makes no excuses for being a strongly partisan Democrat eager to take over what she perceives as her rightful place in the Massachusetts congressional delegation.  She has made it clear that she has no intention of even looking across the aisle let alone reaching across to get things done.

Much is made of who has the stronger record as an advocate of women’s issues.  The strongest point that Professor Warren has is that she is a woman.  Senator Brown has a history of being supportive of women.  From his earliest years fighting abusive step-fathers in an attempt to defend his mother to staying at home, taking a primary role in child-rearing and the household as his wife built her television news career, Scott Brown has shown that he is an advocate for women.  His legislative career is one that has been strongly pro-women.  The votes that Professor Warren points to in an effort discredit him are ones that have either been to allow conscience exemptions for doctors and hospitals where birth control or abortion is concerned or procedural votes.  His vote against Justice Kagan was based on her lack of judicial experience – a position held by thirty-six other senators.

In my previous post I made the point of looking back to where the country was four years ago when it comes to deciding who to vote for in the presidential election.  Likewise, one should look at the two years that Senator Brown has had on Capitol Hill and ask, who is it that will better represent the interests of Massachusetts and the United States  – despite party politics.  To my mind the choice is simple.  Scott Brown should continue to be the senator from Massachusetts

Let us know what you think.  The Weymouth Republican Town Committee exists to promote the principles and safeguard the interests of the Republican Party and its candidates.   We believe the Republican Party is a primary voice for common sense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.   We champion job creation, entrepreneurship, and small business.  We demand individual freedom, defend family values, and work toward limited government and taxation all while protecting fundamental basics such as public safety and public education.  For more information contact us at Weymouth.RTC@gmail.com